[handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 23 November 2011

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2011 14:26:45 -0600

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center
Handiham System. Our contact information is at the end, or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment.  You
can listen to this news online.

MP3 audio stream:


Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player:


Get this podcast in iTunes:

[image: Subscribe in iTunes]


RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:


 Welcome to Handiham World.

On things for which we are thankful, Black Friday, ham radio gifts, and
other seasonal musings:

[image: Horn of plenty with handheld radio]

If you're like me, you probably think of the Thanksgiving holiday as one to
spend with family and friends and to consider those things for which we
should be truly thankful. I'm talking about the big things like family,
friends, health, and having the basic necessities of life, not trivial
things like finding whole berry cranberry sauce on the Thanksgiving table.
Let's just admit right now that I really like whole berry cranberry sauce,
but when you are considering thankfulness there are some things that really
have to come first.

So family, friends, and health are right up there at the top of the list.
But when I consider how I was lucky enough to get into ham radio in my late
teenage years and how it has proven to be an exceptional way to make
friends, engage in a lifelong learning activity, and always be there for me
to push back loneliness whether I was traveling far away from home or stuck
inside in the dead of winter. Being part of a community and being engaged
in that community has been shown to contribute to a person's overall health
and a longer life. Staying engaged in amateur radio is just the sort of
thing that can make life just plain better, and for that I am truly

When I listen to the Handiham nets, I hear people who are friendly and
helpful and who are, whether they realize it or not, making the world a
better place a little bit at a time each day by communicating with their
friends. I am thankful for each and every one of our Handiham members and
for our supporters and volunteers and everyone who helps to spread the good
word about amateur radio and the Handiham program. I am certainly thankful
that so many amateur radio operators stayed close to their rigs and stayed
on the air during the extended sunspot minimum that preceded cycle 24. Now,
when I see that the United States amateur radio population has topped
700,000, an all-time high, I feel thankful that so many of our fellow
citizens here in the United States and around the world still see amateur
radio as a worthwhile activity, a way to build community, and a way to make
the world a better place.

While not everyone in the world celebrates Christmas, that will be the next
big holiday here in the United States, and it will be followed closely by
celebrations bringing in the new year of 2012. Popular culture being what
it is, Christmas is celebrated as much as a secular holiday of  gift giving
as it is a religious holiday. My wife and I were surprised to see lots of
Christmas decorations in Japan, where the secular version is prominent.
Come to think of it, we even saw Halloween decorations in Japan. Popular
culture just has a way of spreading everywhere and anywhere. The reason I
mention Christmas and New Year's is that we will be closing the Handiham
offices for a fair number of days toward the end of December. We will
certainly try to maintain a more or less regular schedule of weekly
Handiham World newsletters and podcasts, but some of the Friday audio might
not be as current as one would expect in other months of the year. Still,
my volunteers always amaze me with their dedication and willingness to
help. This Thanksgiving season I definitely have to give a shout out to our
Handiham volunteers. They help me with the website, do volunteer reading
and recording and audio teaching, help promote the Handiham program, teach
at camp sessions and with their local radio clubs, run the nets, and help
each other out when technical or operating problems arise. I am so thankful
for all of our dedicated volunteers!

Are you planning on shopping at midnight on Black Friday?  Me, neither.

Anyway, if your tradition is to exchange gifts over the holidays and one or
more those gifts happen to be amateur radio related, just make a mental
note to plan to share information about your new ham radio equipment with
your weekly E-letter readers and listeners. If you happen to get some piece
of equipment that is still not audio-described for blind users, please
consider learning about that equipment yourself and then producing an audio
tutorial that we can place on our website as a resource for others who are
looking for help. And if you get something really unusual and unexpected as
a holiday gift, you might consider sharing your story with your fellow
readers. In fact, I think I can imagine some pretty weird and unexpected
stuff under just about any Christmas tree. One year, when we were kids, I
gave my sister a monkey head carved out of a half-coconut. Boy, was she mad
at me. Best Christmas ever!

For Handiham World, I'm...

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager
Early Winter Reading: Becoming a Ham (Part 10)
[image: code key]

Becoming a Ham - Part 10

By T. A. Benham (SK - formerly W3DD, a callsign which has been reassigned.)

Tom Benham, now a silent key but who most recently held callsign W3DD, was
a ham radio pioneer, and being blind didn't even slow him down! Join us now
as W3DD recalls more about satellites in the early days.

*The Trailer*

During April of '59, the students and I heard of an offer from the
Government. If we went to Indian Gap, near Harrisburg, we might be able to
pick up some surplus equipment. Two boys and I went and we found a fully
equipped trailer that was designed for tracking aircraft. It had a
parabolic six-foot dish on top that was driven by a sophisticated system
from inside. The trailer was 20 feet long and about 8 feet wide. We could
have it for the price of getting it hauled to Haverford, which turned out
to be $200. The college comptroller authorized the expense and the trailer
was parked in a little lot behind the Physics building. With the help of
several students, chief among them Amateur Ridgley Bolgiano, the trailer
was converted into a satellite tracking station. The 6-foot dish was too
small, so we set about finding a larger one. I had heard that ITT, in
Nutley NJ, might be interested in giving a hand, so three of us went to
visit. We were received most cordially and I asked my contact if they had
any parabolic dishes that were due to be scrapped. He paused a minute,
looked out the window, picked up the phone and called the Disposal
Department. "Hey Jim, you know that 12-foot dish outside my window? Well,
it looks like hell, cluttering up the lawn. Please send it to Haverford
College, attention T. A. Benham and get rid of the unsightly thing." That
was more than we could have hoped for, but it wasn't all. He next called
his wife. "Dear, I have three very interesting fellows in my office and I
want to bring them home to dinner so you can meet them." We went to his
house, had a very nice lobster dinner and a pleasant visit. In a week or
so, an ITT truck appeared with the dish. The boys and I got it put together
and mounted on top of the trailer. Then Ken from Gerald Electronics came
out and helped get the equipment inside the trailer in good operating
condition. Since it was intended to track planes, it was nowhere near ready
for satellites. When the trailer was ready to be installed in a location
suitable for tracking, it was moved to the middle of a large field about a
quarter-mile behind the Physics building. We drove two stakes into the
ground and strung a string between them to provide an exact north-south
line so the tractor driver could point the trailer as nearly north as could
be arranged. He had to maneuver the trailer several times to get it lined
up to our satisfaction. We had built a heavy platform for it to rest on so
it wouldn't settle in the ground and perhaps alter its position. It was
very interesting and exciting. We had electric, telephone and teletype
lines buried from the nearest pole, which was about 300 feet away. One of
the interested boys paid the monthly charges for the phone, another paid
for the teletype, I paid the electric.

*Linkup with NASA*

Now we became a significant link in the NASA tracking chain, at least until
they got their multimillion dollar system going. Ridgley built a remote
control system so we could turn on functions in the trailer from anywhere.
For example, I was coming home from Washington one evening and knew we had
to track something about midnight. We stopped in Baltimore and by telephone
I turned on the heat, and the receivers to give them time to stabilize. At
that time it was illegal to use phone lines for private purposes, but we
dodged the rules. One afternoon, there was a knock on my office door and a
man entered saying, "I'm from the FCC. I have a complaint from the
telephone company that you are running equipment by remote control through
their lines." "No, we're not connected to their lines and are not violating
the regulations," I replied. "Well then, why have they complained?" I
explained that we had mounted a coil on the wall under the wall phone in
the trailer. When the phone rang, a voltage was induced in the coil which
we used to control relays, timers, etc. He wanted to see, so I took him to
the trailer and showed him. He was amazed and left saying "I guess we can't
stop you from that!" "No," I agreed. "We do all this without removing the
phone from the hook, so there is no way the phone company could know we're
doing it. If they allowed us to use the line, they could charge and it
would be much easier for us to accomplish the task." I never found out who
complained to Ma Bell. Now days it would be no problem. Back in 1936 when I
operated my transmitter from the College I had a dedicated line for which I
paid, but it allowed control from only one location. The conditions under
which this remote system were built had an interesting quirk. Ridgley was
driving back to College from his home in Baltimore. Somewhere along the
rather poorly lit route 926, he dozed a little and ran full tilt into the
rear of a parked truck. Both of his knees were smashed. He spent many weeks
in Bryn Mawr Hospital while they were mending. It was during this time that
he and I designed the system, on the phone and in person. Then we got tools
and parts together and took them to him. He mounted and wired all of the
components on a piece of Plexiglas® measuring about two feet square. It was
a beautiful piece of work and functioned like a charm. I was heart broken
when it was destroyed in a fire! The operating code was simple. Call the
number and let it ring once, then hang up. Within a minute, call and let it
ring twice. This set two timers running. Then call again and let it ring
three times to turn on the heat, or four times to turn on a receiver, etc.
Timing was important. To turn things off, let the bell ring four times the
second call instead of three and this would set things up for being turned

*To be continued...*

*By Walt Simmons (a new Handiham member as of September 2011)*

This challenge is for each member to do his or her part in making sure Dr.
Dave Justis does not keep a single penny of the $5,000 referred to as the
"Dr. Dave Challenge." As you know, he is obligated to give the entire
$5,000 only if we can raise $5,000 in matching funds. Please join me in
demonstrating that we simply will not let him keep any of his money.

Therefore, I am asking each Handiham member to (1) take just one minute to
consider the extraordinary power of a small gift from each person of a
large group; and (2) take all the steps required to send at least Five
Dollars ($5) to the Courage Center Handiham System on or before December
15, 2011. If you cannot do this immediately, be sure to put it on your
calendar so you will not forget. Just so you will know, my contribution was
attached to this challenge."

Our thanks to Walt for the gift that he included with his challenge!

[image: dog barking at cartoon mail carrier]

*Fox News story:* Holy cow, did I get the letters about a story about ham
radio that appeared this week on the Fox News Channel website!  The first
to alert me was George, N0SBU, so I'll give him credit, but I do want to
thank everyone else who shared the link:


Although the story is in the form of a video, the accompanying audio is
still descriptive enough for our blind readers and listeners. I often see
stories about amateur radio in various media formats and have developed
quite a long term interest in reading or listening to these stories and
trying to figure out what the general public must think about amateur radio
once they have been exposed to these short media pieces. As we all know,
amateur radio is a "big tent", which means that there is plenty of room in
it for people with many different types of interests within the overall
description of "amateur radio". I don't think I have ever seen a story in
the popular media that adequately conveyed this basic fact about ham radio.
In the Fox News video, for example, the focus of the story is "Ham Radio
Licenses at an All-Time High", and the piece does a good job at conveying
this basic information. However, because it can be assumed that not
everyone in the audience will know what ham radio is about, the story
continues with a focus on hidden transmitter hunting and shows guys waving
portable VHF antennas around. Obviously someone who knows nothing about
amateur radio could come away from this story either intrigued by hidden
transmitter hunting and how it is such a vital core activity to amateur
radio, which of course would be an erroneous impression.  Don't get me
wrong – I think it's great to get publicity, and this piece was both
informative and positive. It's just that, like many other pieces in the
popular media, it can leave the viewer with  a rather odd and distorted
view of what ham radio is all about. In fairness, stories that emphasize
public service response amateur radio communication in emergencies can do
the same sort of thing. It does serve to remind us that we are all
ambassadors for amateur radio and we should be ready with information that
provides a more complete picture of what it is that we do. So the new video
might be considered a starting point for a conversation about amateur
radio. It's up to us – after all, the popular media cannot be expected to
do comprehensive stories about something as diverse, rich, and interesting
as amateur radio!

*Ken, WB5UYJ,** *wrote to let us know about a guy who got stuck upside down
for three hours while climbing a tower. The video is here:


I guess we can add to our list of things to be thankful for would be not
having any tower or antenna accidents!

*Christoph, DF9WM*, wrote about tactile displays:

In last week's newsletter you asked whether or not there was a Braille
display that could be used to display graphics. The good news is that there
is such a device, and it's called HyperBraille. As a matter of fact,
HyperBraille is being developed in Germany and should be released onto the
adaptive technology market soon. To learn more about the device, just take
your browser to the following URL:
Troubleshooting 101: No transmit audio on Echolink - solved!

[image: Pat and giant alligator]

Last week's troubleshooting question was about a common problem, the
failure of transmit audio while using the Echolink application.  Let's say
you have either installed Echolink for the very first time and are using
the Test Server to determine what your audio sounds like.  You connect as
expected to the server, and hear the automated welcome greeting.  After
that, you make sure that the cursor is focused in the transmit section of
Echolink, then toggle transmit with the space bar. You make a short test,
speaking in a normal voice into your computer microphone.  You then toggle
back to receive with another press of the space bar, but nothing is heard.

We asked for your comments, and we heard from Moose, KB1VUJ:

The first thing I would do is make sure I had plugged in the microphone.
After that, I would check the input settings on the control panel. If your
computer has a line input, it might be set to receive sound through the
line input rather than through the microphone. If the computer is set to
receive audio through the microphone, the volume of the microphone setting
might be too low. Here is how I check out these settings on my computers. I
open the start menu and then select control panel. I keep pressing the
letter "s" until I land on Sounds and audio devices, then I press enter to
open it. Now I hold down the control key and press the tab key until I land
on "voice page." Once there, I press the tab key about 5 times until I land
on "voice recording volume". Now I press enter to open the voice recording
volume. JAWS tells me, "recording control, microphone 100%. My computer
does not have a line input so that option is not available for me to check.
At this point though, you might need to select the microphone setting. If
the microphone volume is not at 100%, you can increase it by using the up
arrow or the page up key. Once it is at 100%, press alt +F4 to close the
volume setting and then tab until you get to the okay button and then press
the space bar. This should put you back in the control panel. I have found
that with one of my computers, if I don't press alt+F4 to close the volume
setting and then tab to the okay button and close the setting by using the
okay button, the volume will return to its previous setting. Hope you and
your family have a good Thanksgiving.

Thanks, Moose!  That really about covers it.  One thing I might add is that
Echolink can have problems identifying audio devices.  I found that out
when I was trying to pick my USB headset as the input device but found that
instead Echolink was using the web cam, also a USB device, even though the
Echolink pull down menu insisted that the headset was selected.  The
Echolink application does seem more consistent if you set the preferred
microphone device to be the "default input device".

We don't have a new problem this week, but I'm sure good old Murphy will
show up to inspire us with some new troubleshooting trick in the near
future.  This week he is just too busy trying to get cooks to burn their
Thanksgiving dinners.

Email me at wa0tda@xxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.

Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager

*A dip in the pool*

[image: Guy studying license manual.]

It's time to test our knowledge by taking a dip in the pool - the question
pool, that is!

Today we are taking a question from the Extra Class pool.

E1A06 [97.303] asks: "What is the maximum power output permitted on the 60
meter band?"

Your possible answers are:

A. 50 watts PEP effective radiated power relative to an isotropic radiator.

B. 50 watts PEP effective radiated power relative to a dipole.

C. 100 watts PEP effective radiated power relative to an isotropic

D. 100 watts PEP effective radiated power relative to a dipole.

So, what do you think?  If you picked answer B, 50 watts PEP effective
radiated power relative to a dipole, you were correct.
Power Bump to 100 Watts, Frequency Change for one Channel on 60 Meter Band:
[image: FCC Round Seal]

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has amended Part 97 related to
the 60 meter band. Some changes include an increase in allowed power to 100
Watts and a frequency change. The changes were suggested by ARRL and now
have been acted upon by the Commission.

Read the entire FCC notice here:
Handiham Office to be closed for USA Thanksgiving Holiday
[image: Horn of plenty]

*The Courage Center Handiham System will be closed on Thursday and Friday,
November 24-25 2011, for the United States Thanksgiving holiday. The
regular daily Handiham nets will go on as usual every day. We wish you a
wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and hope that you enjoy visiting with family
and friends.*
Remote Base Health Report for 23 November 2011

[image: Kenwood TS-480 transceiver, used in both remote base stations.
(Universal Radio image)]


   *W0ZSW is on line. *

   *W0EQO is on line. *

*W0ZSW has experienced some problems with Echolink connectivity, but has
returned to service now that we have resolved an IP address issue. *

Registered users may choose IRB Sound on the W0ZSW station if they prefer
it over SKYPE. The W0EQO station does require SKYPE, however.  IRB Sound on
W0EQO has been noticed to have dropouts on transmit.

Tech users:  The feedback has been positive to date regarding giving access
to our Technician Class Handiham members, so we are doing so. Because we
don't have time to do a lot of technical support, we do ask that users have
better than average computer skills.  Setup isn't that difficult, but it
would probably be a bit confusing for a person who doesn't have much
computer experience.  Feel free to visit the link to the station
information and setup and do some reading to get an idea about what is
involved.  Both stations are equipped with Kenwood VGS1 speech modules for
blind accessibility.  The W4MQ software is pretty good for accessibility
because it has many keyboard commands. The software runs on Windows® only,
and has been tested with XP and Windows 7, both 32 and 64 bit
installations. The Kenwood TS-480 radios are blind-friendly.  Joe, N3AIN,
has done six MP3 audio tutorials:

You can view the status page at:
Sample License Exam Generator by NC4FB
[image: Studying for license]

*Check out the sample exam generator by NC4FB. We have tested it for blind
accessibility via the NVDA screen-reading software. There is a "no figures"
option for generating blind-friendly practice amateur radio license exams.
Technician, General, and Extra exams are available. We have added a link to
this excellent practice resource on our main menu at Handiham.org.*

An additional feature is that the exams may be printed out on paper for use
where a computer is not available. The answers to each exam appear at the
end of the print out.

Find the Sample License Exam Generator by NC4FB at:
NASA seeks student interns with disabilities
[image: NASA's R2 humanoid robot (NASA image)]

From Ken, KB3LLA:

NASA is looking to increase the number of students with disabilities
pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through
our internship programs. We have a two-percent hiring goal. Students can
apply for summer internships now! The deadline for submitting applications
is February 1, 2012. They can register for an account and look for
internships anytime at the One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI): Student
On-Line Application for Recruiting interns, fellows and scholars (SOLAR) at
http://intern.nasa.gov/ . Summer 2012 internships run for ten weeks from
early June through early/mid August. NASA internships are also offered
during Spring, Fall and Year Long Sessions.

* Read more:
http://www.handiham.org/node/1242 *
 This week @ HQ

[image: Handiham headquarters at Camp Courage, Maple Lake Minnesota]

   - The Handiham office is closed Thursday & Friday this week.
   - *Bob Zeida, N1BLF, has completed CQ November digest for our blind
   members.  It is posted in the member section.   *
   - Pat, WA0TDA, has completed AMSAT Journal digest audio and QST December
   digest audio for our blind members.  A big thanks to Ken Padgitt, W9MJY,
   for his reading of the monthly Doctor column.  Our blind members appreciate
   that availability of this audio.
   - Dates for Radio Camp 2012  are Saturday, June 2 - Friday, June 8,
   2012. This will be earlier than usual so that we can test for Extra under
   the existing question pool, which expires at the end of the last day of


   *Tonight is EchoLink net night.*  The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is
   at 19:30 United States Central time, which translates to 00:30 GMT Thursday

   EchoLink nodes:
   - KA0PQW-R, node 267582
      - N0BVE-R, node 89680
      - *HANDIHAM* conference server Node *494492* (Our preferred
      high-capacity node.)

      Other ways to connect:
      - IRLP node *9008* (Vancouver BC reflector)
      - WIRES system number *1427*
      - Stay in touch! Be sure to send Nancy your changes of address, phone
   number changes, or email address changes so that we can continue to stay in
   touch with you. You may either email Nancy at hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
   or call her toll-free at 1-866-426-3442. Mornings are the best time to
   contact us.

 Supporting Handihams - 2011.  [image: Dr. Dave climbs the tower] Help us
win the Dr. Dave Challenge!
Thanks to everyone who has helped us with donations to the Dr. Dave
Challenge so far.

Money is tight these days and we desperately need your support.  Now,
thanks to a generous challenge grant by Dr. Dave Justis, KN0S, we have a
chance to help fill the budget gap.  Dr. Dave will donate $5,000 to the
Handiham System if we can raise a matching amount.  That means we need to
really put the fund-raising into high gear!  If you can help, designate a
donation to Handihams, stating that it is for the "Dr. Dave Challenge".  We
will keep you posted in our weekly e-letter as to the progress of the fund.

Nancy can take credit card donations via the toll-free number,
1-866-426-3442, or accept checks sent to our Courage Center Handiham

Courage Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422

Be sure to put a note saying "Dr. Dave Challenge" somewhere in the envelope
or on the note line of the check.  If you donate online as detailed toward
the end of your weekly e-letter, be sure to designate to Handihams and then
send me an email letting me know you donated to the Dr. Dave fund:

Thank you so much for your support!

Now you can support the Handiham program by donating on line using Courage
Center's secure website.

It is easy, but one thing to remember is that you need to use the pull-down
menu to designate your gift to the Handiham program.


   Step one: Follow this link to the secure Courage Center Website:

   Step two: Fill out the form, being careful to use the pull-down
   Designation menu to select "Handi-Hams".

   Step three: Submit the form to complete your donation. If the gift is a
   tribute to someone, don't forget to fill out the tribute information. This
   would be a gift in memory of a silent key, for example.

We really appreciate your help. As you know, we have cut expenses this year
due to the difficult economic conditions. We are working hard to make sure
that we are delivering the most services to our members for the money - and
we plan to continue doing just that in 2011.

Thank you from the Members, Volunteers, and Staff of the Handiham System

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager

Handiham Membership Dues

Reminder: Handiham renewals are on a monthly schedule - Please renew or
join, as we need you to keep our program strong!

You will have several choices when you renew:


   Join at the usual $12 annual dues level for one year. Your renewal date
   is the anniversary of your last renewal, so your membership extends for one

   Join for three years at $36.

   Lifetime membership is $120.

   If you can't afford the dues, request a 90 day non-renewable sponsored

   Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our activities.

   Discontinue your membership.

Please return your renewal form as soon as possible.

Your support is critical! Please help.

The Courage Handiham System depends on the support of people like you, who
want to share the fun and friendship of ham radio with others. Please help
us provide services to people with disabilities. We would really appreciate
it if you would remember us in your estate plans. If you need a planning
kit, please call. If you are wondering whether a gift of stock can be given
to Handihams, the answer is yes! Please call Walt Seibert at 763-520-0532
or email him at walt.seibert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ask for a free DVD about the Handiham System. It's perfect for your club
program, too! The video tells your club about how we got started, the Radio
Camps, and working with hams who have disabilities.
Call 1-866-426-3442 toll-free.1-866-426-3442 toll-free -- Help us get new
hams on the air.

Get the Handiham E-Letter by email every Wednesday, and stay up-to-date
with ham radio news.

You may listen in audio to the E-Letter at www.handiham.org.

Email us to subscribe:

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at





   Operating Skills

That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System!


Manager, Courage Handiham System

Reach me by email at:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Radio Camp email:


[image: ARRL Diamond logo]

ARRL is the premier organization supporting amateur radio worldwide. Please
contact Handihams for help joining the ARRL. We will be happy to help you
fill out the paperwork!

The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating
information, and Handiham news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is
available to everyone free of charge. Please email wa0tda@xxxxxxxx for
changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and
your new address.

Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN  55422

* hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  *

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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 23 November 2011 - Patrick Tice